Things were hopping at Hires Big H in Salt Lake City, Utah yesterday!
Mitt and Ann Romney, accompanied by sons Josh and Craig, were in town to address a throng of excited supporters prior to holding a hamburger ‘n fries roundtable discussion for small business owners at a locally owned fast food restaurant.
The event marked Governor Romney’s first official visit to The Beehive State since announcing his presidential candidacy.
SALT LAKE CITY — Mitt Romney couldn’t resist grabbing a few more French fries as he was leaving a campaign stop Friday at Hires Big H that included a meeting with local business and political leaders.
The front-runner in the GOP presidential race jokingly explained after posing for a photo with one of the hundreds of supporters who turned out to see him that he didn’t smile because he was still chewing.
It was the rare moment during his nearly 90-minute appearance that the former leader of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City wasn’t beaming back at the crowd gathered at the popular drive-in to cheer on his second White House bid.
“Mitt not Jon,” someone chanted briefly as Romney shook hands, posed for pictures and hugged children after delivering a speech from the bed of a red Dodge pickup truck that criticized President Barack Obama for failing America, especially on the economy.
“The American people are struggling,” Romney said. “We need to have a president who has had a job if we’re going to be able to create jobs. I’m excited and anxious to get America growing again, to put people back to work.”
There was no mention in the speech of the other Republican candidate running for president who shares Romney’s Mormon faith and ties to Utah, former Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.
Asked whether he thought Huntsman’s entry into the race would affect his popularity in Utah, Romney told the Deseret News, “It’s great to be back in Utah, to be campaigning here. I’ve got great support. Jon is a friend, and I wish him the very best.”
Huntsman also had a Friday fundraiser scheduled but moved the Alta Club event to Tuesday. The former governor and U.S. ambassador to China is also expected to hold a public event that will be announced Monday.
Utah Lt. Gov. Greg Bell was among the roundtable participants.
Romney also attended an earlier fundraiser held in a private home in Orem, Utah and an evening reception at the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City.
Luke Gunderson’s Photo of the Day is featured here. Way to go, Luke!
► Jayde Wyatt